As we progress in our careers, it’s natural to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in our achievements. However, it’s important to remember that we are not infallible, and there may come a time when we need to swallow a humble pill.
I remember vividly the time when I had to swallow a big, fat humble pill. I was an individual contributor at a global company having a great time doing a great job. Then within a short time, I found myself leading a team of senior leaders. I thought I was ready for it. Boy, was I wrong. It was the toughest stretch of time in my career. I couldn’t seem to do anything right and my confidence took a huge blow.
So what does it mean to swallow a humble pill?
Swallowing a humble pill means acknowledging that we don’t know everything and that there is always more to learn. It means accepting feedback, admitting when we are wrong, and being willing to learn from our mistakes.
Why is it important to swallow a humble pill at least once in your career?
It helps you grow
Swallowing a humble pill can be a very uncomfortable experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. When we accept feedback and learn from our mistakes, we become better at our jobs and more well-rounded individuals.
It builds trust and credibility
When we admit that we don’t know everything and are willing to learn, we build trust and credibility with our colleagues and clients. They are more likely to see us as approachable and reliable, and more willing to work with us.
It promotes a culture of learning
By swallowing a humble pill, we set an example for others in our workplace. We show that it’s okay to make mistakes and that learning is a lifelong process. This can create a culture of learning and growth within the workplace.
It can prevent costly mistakes
When we refuse to admit that we are wrong or don’t know something, we run the risk of making costly mistakes. Swallowing a humble pill can help us catch mistakes before they become major issues, saving time and money in the long run.
How can you swallow a humble pill?
Listen to feedback: When someone gives you feedback, take the time to listen to it and consider it. Don’t immediately dismiss it or become defensive.
Admit when you are wrong: When you make a mistake, admit it. Don’t try to cover it up or blame someone else.
Ask for help: If you don’t know something, ask for help. Don’t pretend that you do and risk making a mistake.
Learn from your mistakes: When you make a mistake, take the time to reflect on it and learn from it. Use it as an opportunity to grow and improve.
I finally had to admit I needed help and was fortunate enough to be provided with an executive coach who helped me see my blind spots and transition from an individual contributor mindset to a leadership mindset. This humbling experience ultimately helped me become a better leader, colleague, and even a better parent. Swallowing a humble pill can be a difficult but important experience in your career. By acknowledging that we don’t know everything and being willing to learn and grow, we can build trust and credibility, promote a culture of learning, and prevent costly mistakes. In the end, it shows that we’re all human.